AUSTIN – Cities and counties apparently aren’t the only ones who want to sue big oil for climate change.
On March 11 at the SXSW festival in Austin, Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a Politico podcast that he’s in talks with law firms about suing global oil companies “for knowingly killing people all over the world.”
“The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill,” the former California governor said.
“I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”
The actor compared big oil’s alleged cover up to the tobacco industry’s efforts to conceal the dangers of smoking and said, like cigarettes, every product that uses fossil fuels should have a warning label.
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco.”
Climate change related litigation against the energy sector has been mounting in recent years.
In 2016, Democratic attorneys general launched a legal battle against ExxonMobil, seeking four decades worth of records in an attempt to investigate how much the oil giant knew of climate change.
ExxonMobil was also sued by shareholders for allegedly concealing that knowledge from investors.
New York City and several California counties have already initiated climate change lawsuits against major oil companies, blaming the energy sector for major weather events and rising sea levels.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil filed a petition in a Texas district court seeking to discover who orchestrated those lawsuits.